(Un)Broken Chains

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The creaking old door fell shut behind him. The house was a bit spooky, but Aziraphale knew it was secured. Steady walls and magical runes assured his own safety and that of the other inhabitants.

Aziraphale hurried down the corridor. From the adjacent rooms, different voices sounded. There were casual conversations, discussions and laughter. Dice rolled, music played and - as Aziraphale noted with heated cheeks - a bed squeaked.

Well, the inhabitants had time to pass. Some angels and demons followed Aziraphale and Crowley’s example of freeing themselves from their respective head offices. Those of course did not like it. So until he would find a better solution, Aziraphale had provided this safe house for the wayward beings. It was a bit ironic that they had broken their chains, but - at least for now - were chained to an old manor outside of London.

In one of the salons, Aziraphale found the demon he was looking for. It was hard to miss her: Nethliane. Aziraphale was not interested in the female form, but still he could see how beautiful she was with her long, silken raven hair, alabaster skin and captivating dark eyes. Slender but not thin, tall but not towering, her body was perfectly hourglass-shaped and she knew how to move it. And lately she loved moving it near Crowley.

So Aziraphale was annoyed but not surprised to find the succubus with the red-headed demon. She stood very close to him, her elegant fingers playing with the fabric of his shirt, while she gazed seductively at him. Grinning in self-satisfaction, Crowley looked down at her and apparently told a hilarious story - well, if her almost hysterical laughter was anything to go by.

“You called?” Aziraphale said loudly.

Their heads snapped towards him. They both turned and at once Aziraphale saw the problem. A chain, engraved with runes and emanating magic, dangled from Nethliane’s left wrist.

“How?” Aziraphale sighed.

“It’s not the fun kind of chain,” she said with a pout. “Someone tried to drag me back to Hell.”

“Erm, yes,” Crowley chimed in. “She managed to call me for help, but I could only destroy the chair she was chained to and get her out of there. I can’t remove the chain. So I thought…”

“You wouldn’t be so rude to chain me to a chair , would you, Crowley darling?” she interrupted.

Crowley smirked. “Oh no! I have manners,” he told her with a chuckle before again addressing Aziraphale, “anyway, could you…”

Lips pressed into a thin line, Aziraphale took Nethliane’s hand and deactivated the runes. Unceremoniously, the chains fell off and landed on the ground.

Aziraphale grumbled, “Maybe you should all heed my advice and stay here until Adam and I finish our negotiations and he can extend his protection to other demons and angels.”

“Sorry,” Nethliane said sheepishly and smiled. But her charm was not directed at Aziraphale.

“It’s alright,” Crowley said. “But how about you stay put from now on?”

“How about you make me?”

“Oh, you’d like that, hm?” Crowley asked with a flirty wink.

She grinned “Well, I do have some ideas to pass the…”

“It looks like my work here is done,” Aziraphale announced. “I guess I can go.”

“Sure, thanks for your help,” Nethliane purred without looking at Aziraphale. “But now I’m in good and very very large hands.”

Again, she snuggled up against Crowley and again, he chuckled and grinned. Aziraphale tried to ignore the weight in his chest and to swallow the tears. Crowley, however, seemed to sense that something was wrong and looked up to study Aziraphale’s face.

“You alright, angel?” he asked, so soft and kind that it hurt.

“Right as rain,” Aziraphale pressed out and all but fled.

In the corridor, he snapped his fingers, teleporting to the house’s still unoccupied attic. Finally alone, he let himself fall against the wall and started to cry. He allowed the heavy salty tears to stain his cheeks while he sobbed out the pain of loss, jealousy and loneliness.

He should have known that if more demons turned their backs on Hell, Crowley of course would gravitate towards them and away from Aziraphale.

In theory, Aziraphale could do the same. Unsurprisingly, more demons questioned the established order, but there were some angels here, too. However, in reality it was impossible to find someone like Crowley, to find someone to mean even half as much to Aziraphale.

While the chains that had tied Aziraphale to Heaven were gone, his heart would forever be chained to Crowley. And now that Crowley moved away, it was ripped apart.


“Where are you going?” Nethliane’s dark lashes fluttered seductively and her full lips formed a pout.

“Need to check something,” Crowley said.

She tried to hold onto Crowley. But Crowley disentangled himself from her embrace and followed Aziraphale into the corridor. To his surprise and confusion, there was no angel in sight. Well, that was not exactly true as there were several angels in the house and some of them were crossing his path. But not his angel.

Two other familiar figures, however, just left one of the adjacent rooms. With Newt in tow, Anathema stepped into the corridor and closed the door behind her, carrying her bag in her hand. Apparently, her magic had been needed. When she spotted Crowley, she waved.



Anathema and Newt both greeted friendly, but Newt still was a bit careful around Crowley while Anathema gave him an open smile.

“Hi,” Crowley said. “Has one of you seen Aziraphale? Or both of you?”

“Not today, no,” Anathema said. “Is he here?”

“He… was,” Crowley said. “Something seemed to bother him though. He looked kind of pissed first, then outright sad, then he ran off and disappeared, literally.

“Strange,” Anathema said. “But lately he has been different. A bit… subdued?”

Newt nodded. “Yes, I noticed it, too.”

Deep in thought, Anathema tipped her finger against her nose. “ Why was he here? What were you talking about?”

“Nethliane almost got caught,” Crowley said. “We needed him to get rid of some magic chains and then we tried convincing her to stay in the house for now - hopefully successfully so.”

“Nethliane? The succubus?”

“Yes, but I don’t think she bothered him too much,” Crowley said. “Sure, he wasn’t happy with her. But she was almost reasonable. Focused too much on me to annoy the angel. Not to brag, but she is crazy about me, she’s gonna listen.”

The expressions on Anathema’s and Newt’s faces shifted.

“So,” Newt said. “She was flirting with you?”


“The whole time?”

“Erm, yes. Why?”

“And what were you doing?”

“Well, obviously I tried to use that to my advantage,” Crowley said, confused. “Flirt back and get her to stay put.”

“You flirted with a pretty succubus?” Anathema asked. “In front of Aziraphale?”

“Yeah, that’s what I just said.” Crowley was getting irritated. “What are you on about?”

Newt studied Crowley for a moment before he turned to Anathema. “You were right,” he said. “I needn’t be afraid of him. He’s too stupid to be dangerous.”


Aziraphale was not sure how much time had passed. The tears had long subsided. By now, dry sobs wracked his body, each shudder feeding his exhaustion and desperation.

What now? Crowley was his dearest friend. No matter how Crowley felt about Aziraphale, their friendship was the most important thing for Aziraphale. So there was no thinking about cutting Crowley out of his life.

But how painful was it going to be to be so close to Crowley and watch him with someone else in his arms? A bolder part of Aziraphale thought about fighting for Crowley. It was shut down soon, though. A chubby inexperienced fussy bookworm did not have any chance against a beautiful confident demon who was literally made to get people to fall for her.

Aziraphale would endure it however. Pain sooner or later always subsided and so would this pain. Being close to Crowley and his new… girlfriend? lover? partner?... well, being close to them, Aziraphale would simply get used to it.

Another series of sobs suddenly gripped him as he pictured this. It could not have happened at a worse time. A familiar sensation waved over him. There was a tingle of demonic magic, bringing in Aziraphale’s best friend and the love of his life.


Anathema insisted for Crowley to find Aziraphale. Since she and Newt weren’t of any help with their vague comments and confusing looks, Crowley obliged. It was harder than usual to sense Aziraphale. But in the end, even in a house full of angels and demons, Aziraphale’s signature was so unique to Crowley, he discovered him in the building’s attic.

That was odd. So far, the room had not been put to any good use as the other levels were big enough for now. Maybe Aziraphale’d had an idea for a purpose and worked on it. Crowley could perhaps help with that and carefully start a conversation to find out what bothered Aziraphale.

But when Crowley teleported into the attic, Aziraphale was not working. Looking lost and miserable, he just stood there. Crowley caught him crying, even though Aziraphale quickly froze and fell silent after Crowley’s arrival.

Even without seeing, Crowley would have known though. Aziraphale’s eyes were red and traces of dried and fresh tears stained his pretty face.

“Angel? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” said Aziraphale.

“Right,” Crowley said drily. “You were already off downstairs, but now you’re outright crying!”

“It’s… not important. Nothing you can change.”

“You sure? Book Girl and Nerd Boy seem to think it’s somehow my fault,” Crowley said and grumbled, “Not that they were any help. Just told me to talk to you.”

Biting his lip, Aziraphale averted his gaze. Despite the situation, Crowley had to fight down a smile upon seeing it. This was Aziraphale’s face whenever he was on the brink of telling Crowley something he felt he shouldn’t tell, but kind of wanted to tell.

Pressing Aziraphale never did anything good. So Crowley waited patiently, giving Aziraphale room and - as expected - Aziraphale spoke. However, Crowley did not expect what Aziraphale said.

“Was I seeing things between us?” he asked quietly.


“I always thought that if we ever… were free… we would… I mean, I don’t blame you for choosing her. She is beautiful, adventurous, more like you… but just… I expected…”

Crowley’s thoughts were racing. As he processed the words and realized their meaning, anger blended with surprise and sympathy. He could not help his voice taking on a sharp edge.

“Expected what?” he asked, brows furrowed. “For me to wait patiently at your door like a dog? Completely forget any needs I might have?”

“No, I…”

“I can’t read your mind, angel!” Crowley said. “Well, I could, but it’s against the Arrangement and exhausting.”

“Oh, I… I didn’t mean to blame you. But I can’t help wondering…”

Crowley interrupted,“How can I know what you want from me, angel?”

Aziraphale swallowed. Tears glittered in his midnight green eyes and he nodded.

“I know, I know… I have no clue how this works, how any of this works,” he said and threw his arms up in frustration. “The courting rituals I know are obsolete. I tried reading up on more current ones, but they are confusing at best, self contradictory, too, and some are too bold for me to dare. So I made a list and tried figuring out which would be suitable for me and presumably interesting to you. The intersection was rather small, so I…”

While he listened to the angel babbling, Crowley could not help his face softening and his irritation fading. It was true, wasn’t it? Aziraphale was full of love, but the rules of the games surrounding it, must be confusing to him. And apparently, Crowley himself was no expert either. After all, he’d missed of what nature Aziraphale’s love for him was - and what Crowley’s flirting with Nethliana had done to him.

“...I even talked to Madame Tracy,” Aziraphale was still talking, “but it turned out that while she had intercourse with many men, she has loved only one since the 1970s and wasn’t exactly successful in pursuing him until the world almost ended…”


“I thought about asking Anathema, but she is so very young and Newt her first boyfriend…”

“Aziraphale,” Crowley said, making a shushing gesture. “I get the point.”

Aziraphale stopped rambling. He pressed his lips together and nodded. Before Crowley could say something, he spoke again, barely a whisper.

“Just tell me: Did I never have a chance with you or did I make you wait too long?”

Stretching out his hand, Crowley cupped Aziraphale’s cheek. Confused, Aziraphale met his eyes as Crowley thumbed away another stray tear. Crowley smiled. Then he surged forward and his lips found the angel’s. Tightly, he wrapped his arms around Aziraphale and held him close while he ravaged Aziraphale’s mouth like a starved man. Clearly overwhelmed, Aziraphale went with it until Crowley pulled away.


“Angel.” Crowley caressed Aziraphale’s cheeks. “Her attention is flattering and flirting is fun. But that’s it. It’s you. Always was, always will be.”

Blinking away tears, Aziraphale sniffled. “Really?”

“Really,” Crowley said and stole another kiss. When they broke apart, Crowley took Aziraphale’s hand. “Let’s get you home, angel. I’ll give you a ride.”

Happily, Aziraphale nodded and asked, “Is that a code?”

“If you want it to be.”

“Oh, I think… wait, was it a code in 1967, too?”

Crowley sighed. “No, since apparently, you didn’t want it to be.”

“I’m sorry.” Sheepishly, Aziraphale looked at Crowley. “For making things so complicated.”

“You’re an angel, I’m a demon, sweetheart,” Crowley said, letting a finger slide across Aziraphale’s cheek. “Things were complicated from the beginning. Not your fault. You were right to be careful. And I should have known this…” he made a wild vague gesture, “... relationship stuff doesn’t come easy to you.”

“Well, now we can explore it together.”

“Together,” Crowley repeated. “Always.”

He kissed Aziraphale’s hand and led him outside to his Bentley.

“Just out of interest,” Crowley said with a grin when opening the passenger door for Aziraphale. “You think there are angel-proof chains, too?”

The End

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